Articles from Africa

Talks aim for cross-border protection of birds of prey

Some 51 per cent of African-Eurasian migratory raptor species have an "unfavourable" conservation status. John O'Sullivan, of Birdlife International, a global alliance of conservation organisations, said: "We have recently heard about the sad case of the golden eagle being poisoned in Scotland, but birds of prey face additional problems trying to settle in networks of suitable habitats along their migration paths. We know little about the status of raptors in Africa, and in Asia species are poorly understood." The main threats to the birds, Mr O'Sullivan said, were habitat loss, illegal hunting, power lines, and wind farm initiatives.
23 Oct 2007

No easy options on renewable energy sources

Wind power is a mature technology, used widely in Europe. In Germany it produces 20 000MW. ...Unfortunately, South Africa is not the best location; there is just not enough wind to generate sufficient sustainable electricity supply. ... To generate large amounts of electricity from wind turbines would require large tracts of land. A wind turbine that generates 5MW could have a 12m diameter. In comparison, an Airbus A380's wingspan is 80m. So to generate a large amount of power, say Koeberg's capacity of 1 800MW, you would need about 380 5MW wind turbines. ...Wind will be a small part of South Africa's future energy mix. Solar power holds more promise as an environmentally friendly solution to South Africa's energy crisis.
16 Oct 2007

FORUM: Perils of wind and water

Historically, wind power has had limited success because continuous winds aren't guaranteed. ... Politicians demanding wind- and water-generated power would yell bloody murder if we had to endure the kind of blackouts Uganda has. Those "alternate" power sources will never do because they are too unreliable and have too many other disadvantages.
9 Sep 2007

Ghana: Energy - Paradigm Shift Advocated

While an initial assessment in Ghana, reveals more than 2,000 MW of wind energy potential, mainly along the border with Togo, in Africa, this is quite a significant amount, as by some estimates, the continent needs just 40,000 MW of electricity to power its industrialization (see UNEP Governing Council Report). We should also have an ambitious wind approach on the Keta coastline with a proven potential of over 2000MW. We will link this system to our gas powered generators and create a system where gas powered generation is reduced when there is enough wind power and goes up and vice versa. This way we eliminate the problem of having only wind power when there is wind energy since gas will step in to make up for the shortfall, whiles at the same time cutting down on our thermal energy bills. Spain has done it and to give credence to my claim I list the following existing wind energy capacity for major companies in Spain : Gamesa Eólica, 3281 MW; Made, 803 MW; Neg Micon, 715 MW; Ecotécnia, 446 MW etc. (Source Spanish Energy Ministry).
15 Apr 2007

Indigenous people see harm from Kyoto warming pact

Indigenous peoples from the Amazon to Asia said on Wednesday that U.N.-backed clean energy projects meant to combat global warming were aggravating threats to their livelihoods. They said hydropower projects or plantations of fast-growing trees, prompted by a billion-dollar scheme under the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol for limiting the planet’s dependence on fossil fuels, were damaging nature. “We are not only victims of climate change, we are now victims of the carbon market,” Jocelyn Therese, a spokesman for indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin, told a news conference on the fringes of U.N. talks on global warming. “Efforts that are supposed to…retard climate change are having an equally disastrous effect,” said Ana Pinto, representing indigenous peoples in India.
8 Nov 2006

Critics call World Bank energy scheme misguided

A World Bank scheme to bring electricity to the world's poor is short-sighted and won't curb climate change or help the people it's aimed at, environmental groups said on Sunday. The Bank released a progress report on Sunday looking at ways to fund cleaner energy projects in some of the world's poorest regions and drive economic growth in those areas. The report, entitled Investment Framework on Clean Energy and Development, says an estimated 1.6 billion people do not have access to electricity. Environmental groups said the Bank was missing a huge opportunity to promote the use of renewable energy by instead backing conventional fossil-fuel based generation.
17 Sep 2006

If we want to help the Third World, let's promote nuclear power

Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity is thus a critical priority for developing nations. Hydroelectric projects offer one solution, coal-fired power plants another. They aren't perfect ecologically, but neither are wind turbines, which require extensive acreage, kill birds, and provide inadequate amounts of intermittent, expensive electricity that cannot possibly sustain modern societies. Now a revolutionary nuclear energy technology is being designed and built in South Africa, but with suppliers and partners in many other nations. The 165-megawatt Pebble Bed Modular Reactors are small and inexpensive enough to provide electrical power for emerging economies, individual cities or large industrial complexes. However, multiple units can be connected and operated from one control room, to meet the needs of large or growing communities.
13 Sep 2006

Nuclear to the rescue - Electricity is the key to a healthier, more prosperous Third World

Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity is a critical priority for developing nations. Hydroelectric projects like Bujagali (Uganda), Narmada (India) and Three Gorges (China) offer one solution; coal-fired power plants another. They aren't perfect ecologically, but neither are wind turbines, which require extensive acreage, kill birds, and provide inadequate amounts of intermittent, expensive electricity that cannot possibly sustain modern societies.
29 Aug 2006

Energy Not Quite As Free As the Wind

CAPE Town has, with much fanfare, just embraced wind power, that green panacea of sustainable and clean energy. But we are most unlikely to hear of its cost, its inefficiency and, indeed, its damage to the environment. We will hear that wind power helps curb our greenhouse-gas emissions, makes the country less dependent on fossil fuels and energy imports and -- the icing on the cake -- also creates jobs. Surely this is the solution to many of the world's biggest problems? To see if these alleged benefits actually stand up to closer scrutiny, let us look at a country held up as a shining example: Germany.
23 Aug 2006

Eskom to hike rates

"Wind power is unfortunately not the holy grail of electricity supply for the future. Despite this energy source, wind, being free, the very high capital investment required and the high maintenance costs result in high generating costs."
11 Mar 2006
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